Chicago Garden Wildlife Project

Chicago Garden Wildlife Project


Community gardens benefit both people and wildlife in cities. They provide urban residents with access to green space, an outdoor space to be active, and fresh produce right in their own neighborhood. The plants grown in these gardens also provide resources for birds and pollinating insects such as bees and butterflies. There are hundreds of community gardens in Chicago, all of which are unique


With support from the Walder Foundation, Lincoln Park Zoo scientists launched the Chicago Garden Wildlife Project in 2023 in partnership with NeighborSpace and the Chicago Park District. The project’s overall goal is to enhance the benefits of community gardens for both people and urban wildlife. To achieve this goal, partners collaborate with community gardening groups to increase their capacity to support pollinators and other beneficial wildlife while managing undesired species such as rats.

This project includes:

  • Surveys and interviews with gardeners to understand their experiences with pests and beneficial wildlife, along with the impacts of these species on gardener well-being.
  • Visits to gardens to identify policies, features, and surroundings associated with rats and beneficial wildlife.
  • Helping gardens create and implement biodiversity goals.
  • Creating evidence-based recommendations and workshops for gardeners to control rats and promote beneficial wildlife.


If your community garden would like to collaborate with Lincoln Park Zoo, please contact project coordinator Andrea Flores at

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